A good friend recently asked me to join him to brainstorm his new business venture. I enjoy every opportunity to exercise my creativity, share what I know, and inevitably learn something new. The creative exercise inspired me to think about what starting a new business means in general. This post is the first one in a forthcoming series of my contemplations on this topic.
Starting a business is…falling in love. It begins with an idea—very much like falling in love with another human being begins with an idealized view of another. Some ideas have only a limited pull on us and we often find ourselves quickly setting them aside and moving on—sometimes without paying any attention to the parting. Ideas that push us to start a new business are usually much stronger than that. They capture our imagination and don’t let go. They follow us everywhere. They find us in our dreams and stand right behind us during our waking hours.
Courting a potent business idea has all the attributes of falling blissfully and deeply in love. The lovestruck entrepreneur’s attention begins to frequently wonder inevitably finding its way to the subject of one’s irresistible attraction—the new business venture. Time spent contemplating or working on the new business flies, while every minute away from it becomes a torture—there are so many exciting things to do…together with the new business idea.
If the entrepreneur is young and/or free of many commitments associated with the later phases of human life—family, work, and community work—he or she often finds oneself in the proverbial garage passionately “making love” to the new business idea and tirelessly busying oneself with giving birth to its first child—an exciting new software, a revolutionary new product, or a trend-setting piece of art or fashion.
If the lovestruck entrepreneur is a family man or woman, one with a demanding day job and other responsibilities, a love affair begins. Every spare moment, the lover spends thinking of his or her beloved—contemplating an exciting new product features or conjuring up images of a new business logo, one which one day might occupy a proud spot on the tallest flagpole of a large corporate office building (according to the well-known business legend, this is exactly what happened to Michael Dell, when he was lovestruck by the idea, which gave birth to Dell Inc.). The “elsewhere committed lover” takes great care to cross every “t” and dot every “i,” at work and at home, before running off on another date with the business muse.
As time passes, after a lot of hard work, the new business idea and the lovestruck entrepreneur give birth to their child. The business becomes real and its name and date of birth are officially recorded by the state. Giving birth to a new business is as much a product of love and can be as exciting as giving birth to a human child. It is also no less challenging to raise this fruit of love and hard labor so that it may grow up to be strong enough to not only take care of its parents, but also be able to sustain and improve the lives of many others who become its family, its co-creators, its neighbors, and members of its community.
Share your entrepreneurial love story: #StartingABusinessIs